Rebecca is ailing. Randall is worried about Rebecca. Kate is worried about one of Toby’s overly supportive CrossFit friends (namely, she who goes by the screen name LadyKryptonite5). Kevin is no longer speaking to Randall (but, in other news, is engaged and expecting a child). In short, the season 4 fall finale of This Is Us on Nov. 19 left viewers with lots of worries and questions, plus a two-month wait for any answers.
Here’s the good news, followed by more good news. You’ve already made it halfway through the horrible holiday hiatus. (TIU returns to NBC four weeks from tonight, on Jan. 14 at 9 p.m.) And right here, you can grab a peek — two peeks, actually — at some of the drama headed your way. “When This Is Us returns, we head back to the 1970s, with Jack and Rebecca trying to navigate their relationship despite strong objections from her father,” executive producer Elizabeth Berger tells EW.
She’s referring to Dave Malone (Tim Matheson), Rebecca’s adoring-yet-classist dad who does not believe that Vietnam vet Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) is good enough for Rebecca (Mandy Moore) — and has explicitly told Jack as much. Two times, actually. (How much of a thorn will disapproving Dave prove to be in the side of this fledgling relationship? Not big enough to keep Rebecca and Jack apart in the long run, of course, but the shorter-term ramifications are heretofore unknown.) In these first-look photos from the winter premiere, you can see the pair having two intense chats. The scene in the car presumably takes place right after Jack’s sloppy altercation with Dave, based on the fact that he’s dressed in that orange shirt. The other one (above), which takes place in a restaurant, looks more fraught.
We do know that tragedy did ultimately end Jack and Rebecca’s relationship in the late ’90s, when he perished after racing back into the burning family house. Rebecca seems to be headed down a different kind of perilous path decades later, suffering from an illness along the lines of dementia/Alzheimer’s. “The reality is, it actually takes a bit of time and testing to come to a diagnosis,” TIU exec producer Isaac Aptaker told EW after the fall finale. “There’s not an instant blood test where they can tell you what’s wrong, but it’s something that we’re going to be exploring in the back half of the season with as much medical accuracy as possible.”
The second half of season 4 will explore Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) journey to help his mother seek treatment, what precipitated the fracture of Randall and Kevin’s relationship, and how Kevin (Justin Hartley) found a fresh start. In the first few episodes that open the second half, you also will see Kate delve into that LadyKryptonite5 mystery and learn more about teen Kate (Hannah Zeile) and the “creepiness” surrounding her controlling boyfriend Marc (Austin Abrams). For much more on what to expect, head over here, and then check out what Brown revealed about the rest of season 4.